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Vingt muids, rangez chez moi, sont ma Bibliotheque.
En pla<pant un Pupitre on croit nous rabbaisser,
Mon bras seul, sans Latin, saura le renverser.
Que m'importe qu'Arnauld me condamne ou m'approve?
J'abbats ce qui me nuit par-tout ou je le trouve.
C'est la mon sentiment. A quoi bon tant d'apprets?
Du reste, dejeunons, Messieurs, & buvons frais.*
His knowledge of the rents of his church, and of the mortgages belonging to it, his scorn of the pious and laborious Arnauld, his contempt of learning, and, above all, his ruling passion of good-eating, are strokes highly comic. It is wonderful the ecclesiastics of France were not as much irritated by the publication of the LuTRiNf as by the Taktuffe of Moliere, which was suppressed by their interest after it had been acted a few nights; although, at the same time, a very profane farce was permitted to have a long run. When Louis XIV. J expressed to the prince of Cond6, his wonder at the different
Vol. i. P fates
* Chant, iv.
t This poem was parodied by a M. de Bonnecorse, of Marseilles, in a piece entitled, Lutrigot: the author had been ridiculed by Boileau in the 5th Book of the Lutrin.
X The king insisting upon Boileau's telling him who was the most original writer of his time, he answered, Moliere.
fates of these two pieces, and asked the reason of it, the prince answered, "In the farce, ReliGion only is ridiculed; but Moliere, in the TarTu Ffe, has attacked even the Priests."
Boileau has raised his subjects by many personifications; particularly, in the beginning of the sixth canto, Piety, who had retired to the great Carthusian monastery on the Alps, is introduced as repairing to Paris, accompanied by Faith, Hope, and Charity, in order to make her complaint to Themis: to which may be added, the monstrous figure of Chicanery, attended by Famine, "want, Sorrow, and Ruin, in the beginning of the fifth canto. The chief divinity that, acts throughout the poem, is DisCord; which goddess is represented as coming from a convent of Cordeliers. A fine stroke of satire; but imitated from the satirical Ariosto, who makes Michael find Discord in a cloister, instead of Silence, whom he there searched for in vain. Night is also introduced as an actress, with great propriety, in the third canto; where she repairs to the famous old tower at Montlery, in order to find out an owl which she may convey 1 into into the Desk, and which afterwards produces so ridiculous a consternation. Sloth is another principal personage: she also is discovered in the dormitory of a monastery.*
Les Plaisirs nonchalans folastrent a l'entour.
L'un paitritdans un coin l'embonpoint des Chanoines;
L'autre broye en riant le vermilion des Moines.f
The speech she afterwards makes has a peculiar beauty, as it ends in the middle of a line, and by that means shews her inability to proceed.
C^he third heroi-comic poem was the DispenSary of Garth : a palpable imitation of the LuTRiN^and the best satire on the physicians extant, except the Sangrado of Le Sage, who have, indeed, been the object of almost every
P 2 satirist.
* This was the monastery of Citeaux; and Boileau visited it when he attended Louis XIV. in his march to Strasbourg. The monks received the poet with great politeness and hospitality, and desired him to shew them the place in their monastery where this goddess lodged.
f Chant, ii.
satirist. The behaviour and sentiments of Sloth, the first imaginary being that occurs, are almost literally translated from Boileau; particularly the compliment that Sloth pays to king William, whose actions disturb her repose:
Or if some cloyster's refuge I implore,
Je croyois, loin des Iieux d'ou ce prince m'exile,
Garth, in ridiculing the clergy, speaks of that order with more acrimony than Boileau, who merely laughs at them. He has introduced many excellent parodies on the classics: among which I cannot forbear quoting one, which is an imitation of some passages, which the reader will remember, in Virgil's sixth book, and where the circumstances are happily inverted.
* Since, said the ghost, with pity you'll attend,
This author has been guilty of a strange impropriety, which cannot be excused, in making the fury Disease talk like a critic, give rules of writing, and a panegyric on the best poets of the age. J The descent into the earth in the sixth canto, is a fine mixture of poetry and philosophy; the hint is taken from the § Syphilis
P 3 of
* Boileau says admirably of his physician, Chant. 4. Art. Poet,
Le rhume a son aspect se change en pleurisie;
f Cant, vi, J Cant. iv.
§ "Ed in vero nella Sifillide de l'autore fe connoscere quanto una mente della filosofia rigenerata, ed incitata dal furor poetico prevaglia; e con quanto spirito muover possa, ed agitare le materie, che in se rivolge, e fuor di se in armoniosi versi diffbnde."
Gravina. p. 124. lib. 1.